Monday, September 15, 2008

I, Bedouin


Watching the documentary ‘Torfa’ about the life of a Bedouin woman of Petra, I felt a silent urge creep up on me; a yearning for the simple life. I surveyed my realm of consumerist pleasures within a comfortable home of beautiful limestone, and wondered why? Torfa had none of that. And yet she possessed an inner peace that was firmly rooted in her culture, that of Arab and Bedouin; possessing a bond with nature that I on the other hand, seem to have lost …. And as I watched her deftly spinning the goat’s wool that would be woven into her modest needs, I wondered if I could adapt to a life outside the comfort of my own home …and espouse the values of a woman I had only heard talk about; for Torfa’s home was vaste … from the simple traditions of life under a Bedouin tent, to the beautiful land whose mountains and valleys provided the walls and the terraces of her domain, where the goats grazed in green and semi arid pastures and the wild thyme grew.

Mother nature provided it all and Torfa, content with her lot, used it all to maximum benefit. But for her children that was another story, a sign of the rapidly changing times.

One would not be wrong to think that the boat had missed her by; that had she had a so-called 'proper' education, she would have had more opportunity and perhaps a better life … but what is a proper education in this context? This is Torfa and this is her life, a choice based on wisdom, a love of the land, of animal husbandry, of cultural heritage, of vaste knowledge of the flora and fauna of the region and a sense of who she was within the semi arid and ancient lands of southern Jordan. If that is not an informed and educated choice, then I don’t know what is. It’s just that it’s different. If only I could slow this train down long enough for my children to jump off and explore and understand another culture uniquely Beduoin of Jordan … perhaps I should start with this film! So my thanks to Maggie Kabariti for her love of film making and for bringing this documentary into our lives …

J

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